My Stoop

My Stoop

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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween history- Secular holiday with a psychotherapists spin

In many American households, halloween is seen as a family bonding opportunity.  Kids and parents carve pumpkins that turn into jackolanterns that light up the Halloween sky.  Some kids trick or treat, while others attend halloween parties.  Halloween is now one of the most popular secular holidays in american culture.  Recent research suggests that most families spend $60 or more for this holiday.

As a psychotherapist by trade, I must put on my therapy hat for just a moment.  As an admirer of Carl Jung, the swiss psychologist, he has an intriguing philosophy on the subject of dressing up for Halloween.  He believes that we all have a hidden part of us that lay in our unconscious dying to be noticed.  What we show people on the outside and what lay hidden on the inside can be quite a contrast. It is fun to dress up into a character that you may find intriguing.

 Jung describes this unknown part of us as the shadow.  On halloween night in my Jungian class, we were given the opportunity to dress up as one aspect of our shadow.  Now  that is a fun party theme and a fun interesting  concept to think about.  What about you is so hidden to others that you may want to show others?  I encourage you to think about this and just for fun, think of what you would dress up as to show this piece of you or your shadow.   Analytical psychology uncovers that piece or pieces of our psyche, so that we can become more aware of what lay hidden.  That is the fun of halloween.  It is also quite healthy for our mental state.

My  family sees halloween as a opportunity to stay with tradition.  Every year we carve our pumpkins on halloweeen eve or day and cook the pumpkin seeds.   These baked pumpkin seeds are a fun  way to hold tradition and are quite  delicious.  We also trick or treat each year. 

Recipe for Pumpkin Seeds
  • Rinse pumpkin seeds in strainer in sink
  • Add salt to water with pumpkin seeds atleast four hours
  • Take out of water and rinse
  • Place pumpkin seeds on olive oil greased pan
  • Bake pumpkin seeds till golden brown
  • Bake at 400 degrees
  • Salt to Taste
I would like to close  with a childhood memory.  In my catholic school they taught us this  Halloween song.  My kids have loved this song since they were quite small. ........

Witches, pumpkin heads, and black cats, scary spooks and black bats, oh its Halloween. 
Witches, pumpkin heads, and black cats, scary spooks and black bats, oh it's Halloween
Halloween night is the night where fearful things are seen



  1. Hi, I am not sure if it is my different part of my psychology or not, but I love Masks, the ones that they used to use in the old days for dances, I have collected about twenty so far! great article thanks, Nell Rose

  2. Those are so awesome. Thanks for stopping.

  3. WE alway just loved it for the candy! Cute patio with the orange lights!

  4. Jackie,

    Thanks so much for stopping by. I am so glad you liked our halloween haunt lights.